Spiritual Crisis –
Varieties and Perspectives of a Transpersonal Phenomenon
Fransje de Waard
Imprint-Academic – £17.95
As horrific and frightful as the demonic-divine can appear to the mind, it is just as alluring and enthralling at the same time. And the creature that trembles before the numen, flinching most humbly in a manner to appropriate it. The mysterium is to him not only the wondrous, but the wonderful.
When I see someone screaming in the street I think, take some medication mate, then you’ll be one with it. I’m very down-to-earth about it, you see. I’d be able to deal with someone on such a trip, but what on earth can the normal world do with someone like that, barking his head off with a bible on the Leidseplein?
(‘The Transpersonal Perspective’)
From the God Affair to the Beach Boys, the Scientific View to Sanctity, this rather readable book – given the unquestionably flimsy if not dense subject matter – traverses a wide terrain that both enlightens and asks questions.
Indeed, ‘’the mysterium is […] not only the wondrous, but the wonderful.’’
Might it be said that once this is realised and understood, the second part of the title of this semi-existential book, Spiritual Crisis – Varieties and Perspectives of a Transpersonal Phenomenon, is no longer as daunting a fixture as might initially seem.
To be perfectly honest, as soon as I normally hear such a declaration as transpersonal phenomenon, I normally turn the other way in search of a pint or Prince.
So to stumble upon an altogether down-to-earth book such as this, is encouraging to say the least. Either because I am inadvertently more accepting thereof, or the book itself is written in such a way as to be understood rather than to ward off: ‘’I was about 21 at the time. I had known already about all the drugs and stuff in that world, but the loneliness of it as well, the isolation, really dreadful! It’s all so superficial I think that the fear somehow creates excitement as well, and then I end up in that struggle, as if to say: no one’s going to get the better of me any more, I can stand up for myself […]. Because my father never taught me: come along darling, put your faith in life. No, everyone was a bastard. And as soon as the fear emerges, something happens like: I can’t cope, I’m going over the edge, I’ll end up with a psychosis’’ (‘The Transpersonal Perspective’).
I’m convinced we all know someone like the young woman described above; facing head on the countless demons that needn’t have been there in the first place. But sometimes amid life’s potential problems (and we all have them), we cannot see the light at the other end. In fact, sometimes, there is no other end – just darkness – which is why we sometimes have to make the most stern of choices.
Spiritual Crisissheds light as to how this may be accomplished.
After all, ‘’the American comedienne Lily Tomlin once observed with surprise that we call it ‘praying’ when we talk to God and ‘schizophrenia’ when God talks back to us.’’